In The Neighborhood Is the Unit of Change David Brooks writes, “If you’re trying to improve lives, maybe you have to think about changing many elements of a single neighborhood, in a systematic way, at a steady pace.”
Purpose Built Communities is helping dozens of neighborhoods do exactly that: build community consensus on a plan to transform schools, housing and other neighborhood assets to turn distressed neighborhoods into healthy ones.
We estimate that a one-time investment of $200 billion could similarly revitalize the 825 neighborhoods of concentrated urban poverty in America. Our nation spends $1 trillion every year on poverty relief, yet if we dedicated just a fraction of those dollars – exactly one time – we could largely eliminate the need for that $1 trillion in spending. By the way, $200 billion is 5 percent of one federal budget. This is not a money issue, it is a leadership issue.
Can we end intergenerational urban poverty? Absolutely. And the neighborhood is the unit of change.